Simon P.J. Batterbury

Personal details

Research Projects









I am Associate Professor in the Department of Resource Management and Geography, The Melbourne School of Land and Environment,  University of Melbourne, Australia. Since 2008 I have also been Direcotr of a 300 student Masters Program in Environment, which spans the university.  I've taught geography and development studies at five other universities, listed below.

Email: simonpjb@     Mail:   Geography, 221 Bouverie St, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010 Australia


July 2004 -->

Associate Professor

(was senior lecturer/lecturer)

Department of Resource Management and Geography, The Melbourne School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne, Australia


(from 2004-2007 we were SAGES, Faculty of Arts, a School that now only exists on Facebook - it's complicated!)

July 2008-->


Office of Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne, Australia

Melb. Univ. Campus (featuring cricket pitch) and Melbourne CBD/Bay in background

A 3d tour of campus (needs Java)  Photos

Campus maps


Aug. 2001 --June 2004

Assistant Professor

Department of Geography and Regional Development, University of Arizona, USA

Sept 1999-Aug 2001

Lecturer in Environment and Development

Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics, UK (former students)

Oct. 1993-Jul 1999

Lecturer in Human Geography (permanent)

Geography & Earth Sciences, Brunel University, London, UK


Research student

PATECORE-GTZ project, Kongoussi, Burkina Faso, West Africa


Research Student

Department of Biology and Biochemistry, Wye College, University of London


PhD student and research and teaching assistant

Clark University, Massachusetts, USA


Research Consultant

Property Market Analysis, Covent Garden, London UK

Previously - visiting positions:

Jul 2007-Feb 2008

James Martin 21st Century School Research Fellow

Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, UK

Aug. 2001 -- Aug 2003

Visiting Research Fellow

Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics, UK

Sept.- Dec. 2002

Visiting Professor

International Development Studies, Roskilde University, Denmark

1998 (Jan-June)

Visiting faculty member and lecturer

Geography, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA



New Academic Leaders course

University of Melbourne, Staff Development


PhD in Geography

Graduate School of Geography, Clark University, USA

(with special postgrad training in soil science, Wye College, Univ. of London)


MA in Geography

Graduate School of Geography, Clark University, USA


BA Hons (First Class) in Human & Physical Geography

Reading University, UK

Before that

O & A levels

Eltham College and Milestone School, S.E. London, UK.


Research interests and Current Projects:

Research Interests:

My research interests span several academic disciplines and regions. Trained in physical and human geography (which makes you a de-facto environmentalist unless you ignore the obvious), my prime interest is the political ecology of natural resource management, but also: international development theory and practice: the social and environmental history of agrarian and landscape change (primarily in arid, marginal places): environmentalism, environmental policy, and resource conservation: "green" transportation: and ethics, relevance, and justice in social science and human geography. I use a "critical realist" and pragmatic approach to environment and development problems, in which rigorous explanation is generally balanced with the provision of policy alternatives or applied work. Most of my work has been based on empirical social science research or action-research, but includes the use of some scientific techniques.

Transferring from the University of Arizona to the University of Melbourne in 2004, I have been working with an ever-growing group of postgraduate students interested in environment, society and development in a variety of settings. Most of my own work has been conducted in francophone West Africa, where I first completed 2 years of PhD research on the impacts of development projects on Mossi and Yarsé communities and livelihoods in rural Burkina Faso in the early 1990s, and then carried out three further research projects in Niger and Burkina. Latterly I have started working in East Timor and the Pacific, as well as always being involved in local environmental issues.

I am particularly interested in the theoretical and methodological development of cultural and political ecology, and have organized conferences and co-edited several collections (above) on how transnational livelihood systems respond to globalization;  decentralization of governance; agrarian change in Africa; environmental history; and socio-environmental change in the West African Sahel.


Cultural and political ecology - theories and methods

·        Co-editor, Journal of Political Ecology and former editor,  Cultural & Political Ecology Newsletter.

·        Book in progress, 2010, on applying political ecology skills.

International Development

·        Committee member, PERN, Population-environment research network, Columbia University.

·         Book on key concepts in development studies, not very much in progress.

·        Special issue of World Development on changing scales of governance and decentralisation (11, 2006)

·        Conference convenor and editor of resulting publications, Environmental Transformations in Developing Countries, October 1996 (here) at the Royal Geographical Society [special issue of The Geographical Journal, 1997, see publications]

·       Project on World Bank initiatives and local institutions. With Tony Bebbington and David Lewis and funding from the Culture and Poverty initiative (2000-2002) . Used organizational theory to understand the successes and failures of WB-NGO interactions. (first paper second paper)

·       I had a small part in large grant from Britain's Department for International Development to support a research program based at DESTIN, LSE to understand crisis and breakdown in political systems and communities in developing countries. My study is on how political and fiscal decentralization alters environmental and political governance in West Africa.

Agrarian change (particularly Niger, Burkina Faso, New Caledonia).

·        Collaborative grants (UniMelb and USIP, USA) with UNPAZ, East Timor, on land tenure, customary management, and land use, 2006, 2007, 2008. Working in Lautem and Liciqua.

·         A grant charting agrarian change and lobour regimes in New Caledonia (Pacific), particularly around mine sites. (2010)

·         A collaborative, inter-disciplinary project on social and environmental change in Southwestern Niger that used hybrid research techniques to link soil erosion and land cover change to household resource strategies, conducted with researchers from University College London & the Institute of Hydrology, Wallingford (1995-1999)

·        Special issue of Global Environmental Change (with Andrew Warren), based on conference, The Sahel - 25 years after the great drought 13-14 May 1998 at the Royal Geographical Society, London.

·        ESRC Seminar organiser, "Transformations in African Agriculture", LSE, Lund, & Manchester, 2000-2002

Environmental policy, conservation

·        Formerly worked on "village land-use management" and soil conservation and water harvesting initiatives in drylands.

·        Practically, I started thinking about post-carbon futures about 15 years ago and learned much from African farmers (threatened by drought) and western eco-activists and climate change experts (ignored at the time), long before the current concerns over anthropogenic warming emerged. I write, teach, and do what I can about the issue. Melbourne's network on these issues, between communities, NGOs and local councils, rivals even the carbon-capital, Oxford UK.  The educational task is huge.

·        VCCCAR workshop on adaptive planning for climate change, 2010.

·        2008- 2010, Darebin Environmental  Reference Committee, Melbourne

·        2007-8 Fellowship at ECI, Oxford University, for 6 months in a group led by Diana Liverman and specialising in international climate policy.

Sustainable urban transport, and the role of the bicycle  

·         I have been a proponent of sustainable urban transport policies for many years, with a particular interest in bicycle planning in London, and urban activism. (first paper). See the web site of the Ealing Cycling Campaign which I helped to run in the 1990s

·         Committee, Harrow Environmental Forum, 2000-1, Northcote Place-making project, Melbourne, 2005, Northcote Streetscape committee, 2008-10.

·         Action-research project and consultancies in London, 1996-97

Ethics and academic debate

·  In our jobs, academics are surrounded by the same predatory behaviour, hierarchies, non-participatory decision-making, and insecurities as anybody else. It is hard not to cast a critical eye over this state of affairs, and occasionally to write about it.

·  Article challenging the moral basis of academic "tenure" in 2008, working on papers on ethics in professional geography, and a book on applying critical knowledge in my own research area.


2010 "Activité minière et gouvernance locale en Nouvelle-Calédonie (Mining and local governance in New Caledonia). With Pierre-Yvres LeMeur, IRD Noumea and many others.  Centre national de recherche technologique, France/New Caledonia "Nickel and its environment" program. c. AU$550,000. Batterbury and Prof Marcia Langton: approx AU$23,000.

2010-11 Lauren Rickards, Simon Batterbury "Interdisciplinary research networks at the University of Melbourne" Internal grant, University of Melbourne.

2008 “Livelihoods, land and poverty in post-conflict East Timor”. With Marcia Langton, Lisa Palmer, Thomas Reuter, Balthasar Kehi and Universidade da Paz, Dili.  United States Institute of Peace, US$40,000. Research began May 2008.

2007 James Martin 21st Century School Research Fellow, ECI, University of Oxford, UK. Residential fellowship in UK. AU$23,000/₤11,000

2006 "Twentieth Century rural development, labour, and agrarian change on Grande Terre, New Caledonia". With Gilles Pestana (University of New Caledonia). Humanities and Social Sciences Grant, Ambassade de la France en Australie/Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. AU$5,000.

And an Early Career Grant, University of Melbourne, AU$14,750.

2006 "The social impact of changing tenure and resource management regimes on customary property relations in Timor Leste (East Timor)." Marcia Langton, Lisa Palmer, Simon Batterbury, Thomas Reuter, Jon Barnett, Balthasar Kehi.

University of Melbourne Collaborative Research Grant with UNPAZ, E.Timor. AU$13,000. Fieldwork & workshop Feb 2006, meetings Sept 2006.

2006 “Impacts of climate change on remote Indigenous communities in Northern Australia” with Donna Green (UNSW).  Collaborative Research Support Scheme, University of Melbourne-CSIRO Collaborative Research Program.
AU$30,000. [Workshop March/April 2006, Donna’s developed a website].

2004. Fellowship, Udall Center for Public Policy, University of Arizona (declined).

2000-2002. "Transformations in African Agriculture: natural resources, livelihoods and markets". Seminar and publication grant from Economic & Social Research Council [Research Seminar series, grant R45126498499] and STICERD, LSE. Six seminars at LSE and Manchester. (₤8k)

2000-2002. "Organizational cultures and spaces for empowerment? Interactions between poor people's organizations and World Bank poverty programs" Research grant from the Culture and Poverty Initiative, the World Bank. With Anthony Bebbington (Colorado), and David Lewis (Social Policy, LSE). US$100,000

2000-2001. "Crisis States" Programme. A large DFID Development Research Centre at DESTIN, Oct.2000-2005. Joint DESTIN project (small research component, c₤8k, on governance changes, within this larger project)

1996-1999. "Land Use and Land Degradation In Southwestern Niger: Change And Continuity" Economic & Social Research Council, Global Environmental Change (GEC) Initiative. With Prof. A. Warren (UCL) and D.Waughray (IoH).. [grant L320253247, ₤92k]. Final Report – search on

1995-1996. "Land Use and Land Degradation In Southwestern Niger" Starter Grant. Economic & Social Research Council, Global Environmental Change (GEC) Initiative. With Prof A. Warren (UCL) and the Institute of Hydrology. [grant L320223003, ₤30k]

1996-1997. "Green Commuting: Promoting Bicycle Use at the Urban University". The "Cycle Challenge Initiative", Department of Transport, UK. With the Local Agenda 21 Transport Group, Ealing.. Main Findings (₤19k)

1998. The Sahel - 25 years after the great drought. Assessing Progress - Setting a New Agenda. Conference and publications grants from the Department for International Development (West and North Africa Department), and the Royal Geographical Society. (₤6k)

1996-7. "Environmental Transformations in Developing Countries" Conference and publications grants from the Royal Geographical Society, Department for International Development, (Social and Economic Research Management Fund), and ESRC Global Environmental Change Networking/Dissemination Fund [grant L320263060]. (₤4k)

1991-4. "Fellowship for Training and PhD Dissertation Research in African Agriculture & Health" (FTDR) awarded by the Social Science Research Council (New York) and the American Council of Learned Societies, with funds from Rockerfeller Foundation. ($49k) Summary


  ·       Co-editor of the Journal of Political Ecology,  one of the oldest online journals in social science, dating from 1994. Submission details are on the site.  

  Former Editor (1998-2004) of the Cultural and Political Ecology Newsletter, produced for the Cultural & Political Ecology Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers, and serving the community interested in cultural and political ecology.

·         On the editorial boards of the The Journal of Development Studies, the Journal of Maps, Land Degradation and Development. Formerly the  Geographical Review (until 2007), and the Canadian Geographer/le Géographe canadien.(2003-5)

*         Consultancy Experience

*           Many university committees

*     Evaluation of the Institut agronomique néo-Calédonien (IAC), New Caledonia. Sept. 2010.

*     Review of DANIDA Sahel resource management strategy paper, 2008, for DIIS.

*   "Bikerail" project. Cycling - Public Affairs Group (C-PAG), funded by Department of Transport. Potential consumer demand for bicycle/train shared journeys at all major train stations in the UK (1996-7).

*   Research consultant at Property Market Analysis, Covent Garden, London. Economic & social data analysis, household and employer survey work, and report writing for clients drawn from the UK commercial property industry. (1985-7 and p/t 1990-1)

pages Publications  click here


Melbourne (2004-)

·         121-317 Africa: environment, development, people (90 undergrads) (Dean's commendation for student evaluations, yearly score on q2 4.5)

·         121-529 Social impact assessment & evaluation  (50-70 Masters students) yearly score on q2 4.1

·         121-525 Political Ecology of international development (old syllabus from AZ linked here) (2006, 2007, 2009, 2011) yearly score on q2 4.3


·         950-600 Transdisciplinary thinking and learning (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) yearly score on q2 c3.7

·         950-601 Sustainability Policy and Management (2009, 2010) yearly score on q2 c4.3

·         121-503 Planning a Qualitative Research Project (2005, 2006)


(Standard student evaluation of teaching results at Melbourne found here.  q2 asks  "This subject was well taught?" (Max is 5). MSLE average for s2 2008 was undergrad 4.0, postgrad 4.1)


Oxford (2007)

·         Political Ecology (MSc)

·         PhD student support


Roskilde (2002)

·         PhD course, Methods and approaches to natural resource management, with Stig Toft Madsen, Sacha Zurcher.

·         PhD seminars


Arizona (2001-4)

·               Environment and Society (INDV103)

·               History of Geographic Thought (GEOG689)

·               Political Ecology (GEOG696b)

·               The Geography of Africa (GEOG 413/513, spring 2002)


LSE (1999-2001) [here are my students]

·         Institutions, Environmental Change and Development

·         Institutions and Global Environmental Change


Brunel (1993-1999) [here are some students]

· Module leader, Introduction to Environmental Issues (GY1001) (they have kept the format)

·         Sections of  Introduction to Human Geography (GY1003)

·         Module Leader, Environment and Development: Politics and Ecology in Developing Countries (GY3004)

·         Various Masters courses MSc in Environmental Change: Social and Physical Aspects (GY5001)


Colorado (spring 1998)

·         Class leader, Human Geographies (class 1992 - later one shown)

·         Class leader, Geography of International Development (class 3682)

·         Comparative Environmental Studies: The cultural and political ecology of marginal environments (with Tony Bebbington - class 6402)

Places of residence

I have been lucky enough to live in some of the world's greatest cities, some beautiful places, as well as some of the most fascinating, but poor, places in Africa. Currently residing most of the year in Melbourne Australia, which the Economist's Intelligence Unit, for what it is worth, was crowned the "world's most liveable city" in 2003 & 4 and is 2nd after Vancouver in 2010.

Born: Greenwich, London UK (1963)

Blackheath, London, UK (1963-1964)
Eltham, London, UK (1964-1982, 1985-1987, 1990)
Comment on the Lawrence murder
Reading, UK (1982-1985)
West side, then Main South,
Worcester, Massachusetts, USA (1987-1990, 1997)
Brooklyn, New York, USA (visits, 1989-1990)
Canterbury, UK, (1991)
Ouagadougou and Kongoussi, Burkina Faso (1992-1993)

Northfields, Ealing, London, UK (1993-1998)

Niamey, Niger (Jan 1996 & visits)
Chautauqua, Boulder, Colorado, USA (1998)
Sidcup & Kensal Rise, London, UK (1998)
Southall, London, UK (1999-2000)
London's largest South Asian community
Wendover, UK (2000, 2011)
Bucks. village, Chiltern Hills
, London, UK (2000-2008)
Tucson, Arizona, USA (2001-2004) (Sam Hughes) (Tucson Mt Pk panorama)
Roskilde, and Frederiksberg (Copenhagen), Denmark (2002)

Fairfield then Westgarth, Melbourne, Australia (2004-) (World's most liveable city 2003, 2004) (A.W. Harzing page)

Summertown, Oxford, UK (2007-8)

Longbottom cottage, Thenon, Dorgogne, France (most years)


Universities and Colleges Worldwide
Find any geography department
Find a UK University

Geolinks (Armstrong)

University of Bums on Seats (sure I have worked here)


The Knowhere Guide to the UK - an alternative gazetteer
Telephone directories worldwide
Google translation

Where Is - Australia streetmaps

Streetmap - UK streetmaps


Cultural & Political Ecology Specialty Group of the AAG
The Journal of Political Ecology
Ecopolitics Assn. Australia
Real World annotated bibliography on environmental topics
Bibliographies on Environment (at Harvard) one two
The Ecologist

George Monbiot


Niger, West Africa - news and links
Burkina Faso

Epic café, Tucson


LSE E&D student news
Gary Marx - articles on academic success (or lack of it)

Many geographical bookmarks, by Bob Ford

Sarah CE Batterbury (sister, also a geographer, lecturer in Deaf Studies,Bristol U.)

Sheila Batterbury (my Mum, now-famous gardener)


The art of writing proposals

PhD comics


Crap Cycle Lanes of Melbourne

The web site of the Ealing Cycling Campaign
London Cycling Campaign

Bicycle Victoria
A 2 B Magazine (alternative transport)
The Folding Society (folding bikes)
Chainguard Bike Advocacy (now
Chunk - crazy bicycle punks!

Bikereader - art and text
Linear recumbent bikes (I have one)
BICAS (community bike project, Tucson)

Humanpowered (Melbourne bike worshop)

Adbusters - anti commercials

John Peel RIP


IIED - International Institute for Environment & Development, London
Jobs in development (IDS, Sussex)
IDS Environment Group, now called KNOTS Sussex
ID21 Development information service

James Martin 21st Century School, Oxford U


CERES Enviro. Centre, Brunswick, Melbourne

RRR independent Melbourne radio station online

The Idle Hoes, Very Melburnian.

Trans-Europa Express PBS-FM radio, Melbourne

This page is maintained by Simon Batterbury.   home
 Last modified on 22 Oct 2010.